While I'm probably the only person in New York (or at least the Upper East Side) who doesn't employ a steady babysitter, nanny, au pair, or the like, I still know that tipping and presents can be a tricky business. Emily Post says (and I fully agree) that cash is still the best present you can give at the holidays, about a week's salary. However, I think it's nice to also give a smaller gift to show your appreciation for all the hard work and love your caregiver puts in over the weeks.
I think the biggest pitfall to avoid for a babysitter is giving something that he or she will use in the care of your child (museum membership, stroller accessories). It's not that it won't be appreciated, but I feel like gifts should be solely about the person receiving the gift. Something fun, maybe a little frivolous, a little luxurious.
1. Falconwright Clutch. Envelope clutches are eternally useful, in addition to being super chic. You can carry it alone, or put it in a bigger bag for easy access to important stuff. (Important stuff, people!) Everyone on the interwebs is bonkers about the Clare Vivier purses, which...don't get me wrong, they are beautiful, but also a little played out. I think these Falconwright clutches carry the same style, but punch it up with fun patterns and come in a more budget friendly price range. They are available at Madewell and also in lots of colors at Dalaga NYC, one of my favorite boutiques which finally has online shopping.
2. J. Crew Continental Zip Wallet. Do you know anyone on this earth who doesn't need a new wallet? I mean, my husband's is practically held together with duct tape. Mine looks like a dog dragged it across the lawn and through a sprinkler (maybe that happened, maybe it didn't, what of it?). My point is that, even if the giftee doesn't need it now, she'll need it eventually. It's a nice neutral gift that is practical, but not boring if you get a fun color like the pink at J. Crew. I also like these Rebecca Minkoff wallets with cute sayings. (If I were British or pretentious, I would have said "cheeky" instead of cute, I spared you.)
3. C. Wonder Monogrammed Mug. Universal truth of gift-giving: Monogramming makes everything better. Well, it certainly makes it unreturnable. I prefer the single initial to a full monogram and I think in this case you could pair the gift with something else. For example, this initial mug with a Blue Bottle Coffee subscription. Or you could give a beautiful set of initial note cards. Or an iPhone case.
4. Butter London Heavy Metal Trio. Beauty products are a nice gift, but not without some pitfalls. Some beauty gifts could be a little too personal and picking out shades of makeup could be like walking a tightrope without a net. After 6 beers. I think nail polish is a nice happy medium, since it's fun and not that intimate. This Butter London trio is neutral, but not boring. This set of classic reds from Sephora is also a nice option. Not a nail polish fan? Try the Urban Decay Naked 2 eyeshadow palette. Or, you could give the greatest gift...a HUGE bottle of Kiehl's Creme de Corps.
5. J. Crew Cashmere Scarf and Hat. Alright, it's totally unoriginal, but, much like a wallet, a hat and scarf and gloves set is always a good gift. My thoughts here are: go cashmere or go home. I mean, life it too short and winter is too long to wear and itchy scarf. Get a beautiful color, like this eggplant from J. Crew or a bold red or a pale blue. Another boring but awesome option? Gloves. The ones that have the touch fingertips are a lifesaver like this pair from Echo.